Steven Dykstra

Steven Dykstra

Assistant Professor

Geological Oceanography
Physical Oceanography

College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences
123 O'Neill
2150 Koyukuk Drive
Fairbanks, AK 99715


University of South Alabama
Ph.D. Marine Science

Taylor University
M.S. Environmental Science

Calvin University
B.S. Geology


Curriculum Vitae



Steven (Steve) Dykstra has led field research/consulting and outdoor education programs in diverse environments throughout the world—enabling people to be environmental stewards—from the deltas of Vietnam to the alpine valleys of Tajikistan to the Serengeti of Tanzania.  In 2005, Steve began working in coastal Alaska as a naturalist in Kenai Fjords National Park and became a faculty member at UAF in 2023.



Selected Publications

Dykstra, S. L.; Dzwonkowski, B.; Torres, R. (2022). The role of river discharge and geometric structure on diurnal tidal dynamics, Alabama, USAJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.

Gadeken, K. J.; Clemo, W. C.; Ballentine, W.; Dykstra, S. L.; Fung, M.; Hagemeyer, A.; Dorgan, K. M.; Dzwonkowski, B. (2021). Transport of biodeposits and benthic footprint around an oyster farm, Damariscotta Estuary, Maine. PeerJ,

Dykstra, S. L.; Dzwonkowski, B. (2021). The role of intensifying precipitation on coastal river flooding and compound river-storm surge events, northeast Gulf of MexicoSpecial section: Floodplains as complex adaptive systems. Water Resources Research,

Axler, K. E.; Sponaugle, S.; Briseño-Avena, C.; Hernandez Jr., F.; Warner, S. J.; Dzwonkowski, B.; Dykstra, S. L.; Cowen, R. K. (2020). Variability in fine-scale distributions and predator-prey relations of larval fishes during a high discharge event in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Special issue: Latest advances in research on fish early life stages. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 650,

Dykstra, S. L.; Dzwonkowski, B. (2020). The propagation of fluvial flood waves through a backwater-estuarine environment. Special section: Coastal hydrology and oceanography. Water Resources Research, 55,

Dzwonkowski, B.; Fournier, S.; Reager, J. T.; Milroy, S.; Park, K.; Shiller, A. M.; Greer, A. T.; Soto, I.; Dykstra, S. L.; Sanial, V. (2018). Tracking sea surface salinity and dissolved oxygen on a river-influenced, seasonally stratified shelf, Mississippi Bight, northern Gulf of Mexico. Continental Shelf Research,

Dzwonkowski, B.; Fournier, S.; Park, K.; Dykstra, S. L.; Reager, J. T. (2018). Water column stability and the role of velocity shear on a seasonally stratified shelf, Mississippi Bight, northern Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans,


  • Coastal ocean and River Mechanics (estuaries, deltas, continental shelves, tides, storm surge, floods, circulation, vertical land motion)
  • Climate Science (sea level change, climate oscillations, atmosphere-land-ocean interactions)
  • Human Impacts (infrastructure, water quality, water resources, etc.)
  • Data Processing, Data Analysis, and Modeling


Research Overview

Steve researches ocean-land-atmosphere interactions, focusing on river-marine transitions and the role of human impacts. By differentiating effects of climate change, natural variability, and the built environment, his research advances our scientific understanding of flood risks, global warming impacts, and predicting environmental change.  


Current Research Projects

  • Assessing Sea-Level Rise and Flooding Changes in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta using Historical Records (U.S. Bureau of Reclamation & Delta Stewardship Counsel)
  • Geomorphic Versus Climatic Drivers of Changing Coastal Flood Risk (NSF PREEVENTS)
  • The Impact of Harbor Modification on Coastal Floods: The case of Charleston, SC (UofSC ASPIRE)
  • Forcing Conditions of Cross-shelf River Plumes on Wide Continental Shelves


Awards / Honors

  • ASPIRE Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of South Carolina, 2021-2023
  • DISL/FDA Fellowship, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2019-2020
  • GoMRI Scholar, Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, 2017
  • Honorary Photographer, Geological Society of America, 2010



  • Motorboat Operator Certification (Scientific Boating Safety Association), 2016
  • Wilderness First Responder (Wilderness Medicine Institute), 2013
  • Commercial Drivers License, 2009


Community Service

  • Town of Dauphin Island Sensitive Wetland Management Plan, 2020-2021
  • International Student/Development Mentoring Program (Horizons International, CU Boulder), 2013
  • Zeravshan Valley Irrigation Development (Global Partners Tajikistan), 2012-2013
  • Hanoi Municipal Arsenic (Dynamic Solutions Intl.- Vietnam), 2010; Hoosier River Watch (Taylor University, Indiana DEM), 2008-2009
  • Ngorngoro Conservation Area WASH (Hilfe für die Massai- Tanzania), 2006


Links to Other Places